Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 30 Issue 03

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Volume 30, No. 3
Pages 6 - 8


RIPPLE MARKS • The Jumbo Carbon Footprint of a Surf-and-Turf Dinner

By Cheryl Lyn Dybas  
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What’s the carbon footprint of an average shrimp-and-steak dinner?

If it comes from the conversion of mangrove forests to aquaculture and agriculture, it’s 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s about the same amount of greenhouse gases produced by driving a fuel-efficient car from Los Angeles to New York City.

Clearcutting of tropical mangrove forests to create shrimp ponds and cattle pastures contributes significantly to greenhouse gases and global warming, according to findings reported in the May 2017 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

“The results mean that 1,603 pounds of carbon dioxide are released for every pound of shrimp, and 1,440 pounds of carbon dioxide for each pound of beef” from mangrove forest conversion, says J. Boone Kauffman, an ecologist at Oregon State University who led the project.


Dybas, C.L. 2017. Ripple marks—The story behind the story. Oceanography 30(3):6–8, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.303.

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